On the Boardwalk

The first incense that ever “floated my boat” is an ambergris/oud mix made by our own Ross. It is soothing yet uplifting, penetrates without sharpness and gently seeps into my soul with firmness and tenderness. It conjures up images of a magnificent old tree in the middle of a forest- a tree whose roots drive towards the center of the earth, whose trunk spans 6 men’s chests and whose branches vie with Icarus to reach the sun. Each branch is strong enough to hold a city-full of children and beneath its branches flowers grow, worms crawl, antelopes lounge in its shade and mothers read to children. They all feel safe and protected.  The ocean gently washes its heart-spread leaves, its strength is encrusted in it’s bark; it’s roots are scaled with sober purpose. A mineral firmness thickens and darkens its sap as it drifts in anchored solitude.

Yesterday I sampled Agar Aura’s Tropica- a mukhallat dominated by Borneo oud, rose, frankincense and above all- ambergris. It is the dry, salty, breezy scent that makes my heart beat faster before the ocean even pops into sight. It smells of skin after gentle exercise, a child’s tears, of a rosebud covered in snow. It smells of the sea-kissed tree that  grows in Ross’s beautiful blend. If I were to color it, it would be the color of the Acropolis.

Many mukhallats are too heavy and dense for summer but Tropica’s cool dryness is perfect for sweltering days and humidity laden nights. It can be purchased at Agaraura.com.



  1. Thomas S. said,

    June 9, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Dear people, I have recently acquired three ols / mukhallats from AgarAura. These are Khashabb, Jinkoh to Byakudan ( now unfortunately sold out) and the Oud Kampuchea. All three are wonderful. Oud Kampouchea is very soft., floral, with hints of nectarines and orange peel. Khshab is a mukhallat and smells wonderfully woody. It starts with fresh green /evergreen notes, and develops into the richest yet softest cedar-y scent I have ever smelled.

    • Marian said,

      June 10, 2012 at 8:44 pm

      I, too, am a fan of Jinkoh to Byakudan. It surprised me how closely an oil could approximate the scent of Japanese incense. Another of Agar Aura’s new releases is Bushi No Kaori, created to conjure up the image of a Samurai warrior. Its bitter, dry and slightly medicinal scent has a powerful and austere boldness. A clear menthol note, along with the sweet spiciness of piquant clove, adds luster and dynamic energy to this woody, craggy yet lyrical, aristocratic blend.

  2. MattnDC said,

    May 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Hi Marian and Bev – The Tropica sounds great and I’ll be ordering it. Have you tried his Areej al Mulook?

    • Marian said,

      May 9, 2011 at 6:47 pm

      Matt- I tried it but it was the original one and I’m pretty sure he changed the formula now. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

  3. Marian said,

    April 29, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    That’s funny, Anne. She was lucky you weren’t wearing a strong Assam oil 🙂 I can imagine what she would have thought then.

  4. Anne said,

    April 29, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    By sheer coincidence, today I was wearing the sample of Agar Aura’s cambodian royale you sent me. I liked it and went to browse at the Agar Aura site, noticed the Tropica and was intrigued. Glad to hear you sing its praises, I might just do a blind buy on this.

    BTW, while talking with my colleague at work she mentioned that it smelled like paint. Ha! Little did she know that she was picking up on the turpentine notes of the oud I was wearing! 🙂

  5. Marian said,

    April 29, 2011 at 9:56 am

    You’re welcome, Bev.
    The vanilla is lovely- soft and subtle so it’s not overly sweet and doesn’t change the nature of the fragrance. One amazing thing about this mukhallat is that it has AMAZING longevity. I put it one in the morning and could smell it the next day even though I’d gone to the gym and taken a shower in the interim.
    Unlike perfumes from Arabian Oud and Al Qurashi the majority, if not all, of the ingredients of Agar Aura’s blends are 100% natural and when Taif rose oil is used it is sourced directly from Saudi Arabia. Although they don’t carry a huge number of perfumes each one is individually crafted and unique. Many of the perfumes from the “big houses” start to smell the same after a while. That isn’t true of Agar Aura’s scents, each of which has a very distinct personality.

  6. Bev said,

    April 29, 2011 at 8:59 am

    I just picked up a bottle of this. What a beautiful fragrance! In addition to the breezy ambergris I found myself getting wafts of soft vanilla notes which kept my nose glued to my arm all day. It also possesses a depth of scent that I’ve yet to find in other natural perfumes (not that I have a great knowledge of them, but have been sampling dozens recently looking for “the one for me”). Agar Aura’s Tropica is that one. I’m so pleased with it. Thank you for your review of this one.

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